West of Scotland Group's "Starters" Build a loco project

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Allan Goodwillie
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Re: West of Scotland Group's "Starters" Build a loco project

Postby Allan Goodwillie » Sun May 02, 2010 6:50 pm

Catch up on the other "Sprung"loco chassis :)

Today I decided it was about time I allowed the other loco to catch up. The construction of the base plate and brakes was much the same as the other engine.

There were some minor differences with the pick ups due to the fact that it is best to be able to get into the height adjusting screws. These screws should already be adjusted at this stage , but you may wish to alter the setting for some reason ( Unlikely if you have put a little super glue on the screws ). To provide for that, I file a little out of the front face of the copper clad material, do not take all the copper off the facing, but make an angled half hole to make it easy to get a small screw driver in to get the screw out or do some adjustment.

The second difference is that I have allowed the connecting wire to be looser - again to allow access for the middle adjusters. I hope this will be obvious from the photographs.

I had an email from Julian Roberts, one of our West Group members and I quote, "I'm going to have to replace the brakes on the Q1 with plastic ones. As I rather feared, the amount of fore and aft slop resulting from my chassis 'radial links' arrangement is allowing the wheels to contact them so shorting, following some running in, and the paint rubbing off the brake blocks. Alan Gibson (ex) does them I think/hope. It's going to be a hell of a fiddle. Your thread makes cutting out frames look quite easy I never thought of just starting again with the Q1 frames though I have all the necessary material. I think now that might have been the best approach."

Julian's locomotive is more or less complete and in fact has already been the subject of a very interesting article published in the DOGA Journal Autumn 2009 Vol 16 issue No.1 Julian started his loco about the time we started all this and has completed the body as well. I will be putting some photographs Julian has sent me up this week.

What I have recommended to Julian is the following-

While the chassis is dismantled I go over the brake blocks with a smear of 5 minute epoxy. I do the backs and the brake edges likely to touch the wheels. Once hard it is tough and will provide good insulation. It is better than using nail varnish which is also fairly tough. Once painted you will never notice it being there. I will also put some on the plate where the pick-ups may just come in contact. ;) :idea:

Another quote from Julian, " The drop out system with pick ups and brakes looks fascinating, certainly it is the least satisfactory part of chassis making the way I've done it so far, especially the difficulty of then painting it, and then getting the paint off the pick ups and wheel treads without spoiling the paint job!"

I do intend covering painting later, but being able to drop wheels etc. makes it a whole lot easier, in the meantime it is time to thoroughly clean everything ready for painting after I have added a couple of small details including the lubricator mechanisms that the Barclays had. I enjoyed reading my old mate Don Rowland's article covering the cleaning and polishing of wheels - very good Don and confirms what I said about the polishing of wheels during running at Melrose.

Part of my cleaning regime will include the polishing of rims with a glass fibre brush and a steel burnishing tool from my Art College days. What can be dipped in cleaning solution overnight will be. I will put a coat of primer on everything having painted any areas that I do not want to get paint on with Maskol. Photos to follow in due course.

I will also add the insulation to the motor and gearbox sides while I have them out. I will also add a shelf attached to the centre spacer using a nut and bolt to support some extra electrical stuff that I am experimenting with just now. All this before any painting.

Allan :)

Here we see the front pick ups on the other loco showing the filed down area to allow for adjustment of the screws.
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This shows the wiring between the pick up sets as looser to allow for access to the adjusters
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While the base plates are off I give a smear of 5 minute epoxy to each of the brake blocks, back edge and rear facings. Once dry this will give a tough insulated layer, which will last a long time.
X1.JPG (153.5 KiB) Viewed 12743 times

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Stephen F
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Re: West of Scotland Group's "Starters" Build a loco project

Postby Stephen F » Thu May 06, 2010 9:37 pm

Hello all!
I just want to say this is terrific stuff, I'm about halfway down page 4. As a (maybe foolhardy) beginner I built a Gibson Black 5 a couple of years ago, and though it runs, I would like it smoother, so plan to rebuild it, probably using Brassmasters hornblocks (I found the Gibson ones rather a trial :? ). Your wonderful descriptions and ideas for jigs and experience of the pitfalls which lie in wait are a great gift, so thank you for taking such trouble to make this thread so comprehensive. You have made even scratchbuilding a loco seem accessible, which is something I liked the idea of but which seemed out of reach.
With much appreciation,


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Allan Goodwillie
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Re: West of Scotland Group's "Starters" Build a loco project

Postby Allan Goodwillie » Fri May 07, 2010 7:36 am

Hi Stephen, :)

Thanks for your kind comments Stephen. I am going to put up some photographs of different arrangements for bogies etc. Possibly later today if I get time to take the photographs.


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Re: West of Scotland Group's "Starters" Build a loco project

Postby Allan Goodwillie » Tue May 11, 2010 12:58 pm

Other aspects of chassis building.

I thought at this stage I would look at some other aspects of chassis building. I will start with a sample of a more complicated use of compensation, to show that it may seem complicated coming from a position of building 00 locos, but that there really is no major challenge as such, in building a compensated chassis. ;)

The photograph below shows the parts needed to build an Atlantic chassis (4-4-2) and tender chassis to go with it. It shows the main frames for the locomotive and the tender main frame. This time the chassis is made in brass, not quite as pretty as nickel silver, but just as strong and effective. It is noticeable on this chassis that there is a fair amount of material above the driving axles. I have come across kits with very little material here, where on the real thing, there would be a fair bit of metal to give strength to the chassis. :idea: Something else which is noticeable on this chassis, is the various widths of different parts of the chassis. Again this is prototypical and often happened on locomotives from Atlantic size and larger or on locomotives (particularly with bogeys) required to get around fairly tight curves.

A comment or two about this may be of interest. I have minimum curves of 38 inches on my mainline layout the tightest bit being on a loop. I like all my engines to be able to go anywhere on the layout as you can bet that someone will do it at some point in time. Now of course not everyone's locomotives will be able to go around such a curve, leading to some disappointments over the years. In truth if you build to near the prototype, very few peoples locomotives would go around any sort of typical model railway corners. :shock:

So, if like me, you have a restriction of space requiring tighter curves then some compromise may be required. One obvious compromise is to use narrower chassis giving more side play, I know many S4 modellers who use EM spacers to allow this to happen. Another thing which can be done is to narrow the chassis where you have a bogey and possibly taper the chassis towards the ends to allow the leading, or trailing wheels to have a little more space to move around the curves. Another dodge maybe required, is to file down the back corners of the cylinders to give clearance for a bogey. Where outside valve gear is being fitted then, flush or near flush crank pins sometimes have to be fitted, or the connecting rod perhaps be a bit more bent than would be the case than in real life. You have to make your mind up sometimes whether you are building showcase models, which will maybe never turn a wheel, or a strongly built operating model which will give long hours of service and work on most layouts.(depending on curvature) :)

The Atlantic shows the other parts required. There is a beam bent from some bullhead rail for the front bogey which , in this case has a simple slotted frame with a pivot wire set at the height required for the correct height of the bogey when the wheels are fitted. The bogey frame is made without compensation first of all and with the wheels in place it is sat on a sheet of glass to make sure the ride height is correct and that all is square, then the pivot wire is also fitted at this time to get the correct level for the axle to be held at the correct height then the wheels are taken off and the hole slotted to allow for up/down movement. ( Make sure that you are careful when slotting not to increase lateral movement. :( Use a square and mark your slots properly before filing out with a needle file.) The frame holes are slotted in the same manner. Drill the correct diameter holes for the bushes (in this case I am using simple top hat bushes for the axles.)

Make and place all the other parts for the bogey, its compensating beam and the rear carrying wheel with its flat plate beam and set the whole locomotive up as if it was uncompensated. The wheels do not have to be put on fully and can simply be put on a little, which would allow them to be taken off easily without having to tap them out or use a wheel puller. If everything fits and sits level and square, then take the wheels out and slot the holes). The same applies to the tender, make the frames square with the holes in line and check the wheels sit properly on a sheet of glass then slot the holes that are being used for the compensated axles.

Allan :)
The chassis shows a number of things. Again slots for the bushes allowing for a keeper plate to fit the springs and brakes to. (Not shown here) The rear compensating beam has a shaped top to allow it to clear the frame spacers and it also includes a slot to allow it to clear the brake hanger wire. - note it is not for the rear axle! You can also see the wire soldered to the front bogey to support the axle which goes into the slotted hole. Looking at the frame for the tender, which is already completed, you can see the compensating beam and see that again the top of the beam is curved to be able to clear the underside of the tender and again a small section is taken out to clear the frame spacer. Small pieces of tubing have been fitted over the wire to act as spacers to keep the beam in the middle of the frame.
LS6.JPG (147.48 KiB) Viewed 12643 times

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Allan Goodwillie
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Re: West of Scotland Group's "Starters" Build a loco project

Postby Allan Goodwillie » Tue May 11, 2010 1:53 pm

Chassis Sample 1 - compensated 4-4-0 Scott class

This first example shows a typical arrangement for a compensated 4-4-0, in this case a Scott locomotive of the type I knew of in my youth. In fact, I was many a time on the footplate of this locomotive when the branch down to Leven, in Fife, was still in operation. It was often on the afternoon train from Crail. Margaret, in the station shop, used to give me her old newspapers to burn in the fire box of the locomotive. I used to wait for the train to come in and the chance to hop on to the footplate with its memorable smells of a hard working locomotive. ( I apologise for the nostalgia ) :) It will be photos and text for the next few examples. All locomotives I had a personal interest in. :roll:

Being a 4-4-0 there are always problems in getting good running, particularly using a sprung chassis. I now only use compensated chassis for 4-4-0's and 0-4-4's. Compensation is far better as it allows the spread of some of the weight at the front end on to the leading driving axle and in this case as the locomotive has a deeply curved roof, with a back plate, I have also added a lump of lead in this area. A spring has been added to the front of the tender to give a little extra pressure on this one. This was not really necessary, however as it already ran well and pulls a realistic load. I have made a back head out of sheet lead and attached it to the cab floor for retro fitting, which will also add to the adhesive weight. The engine does not require it really I just want to get the maximum performance from it however.
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The underside of the tender showing the compensating beam arrangement. I always have the rearmost axle position fixed and compensate on the other two. I have found this the better arrangement after trying the opposite arrangement once or twice on other locos. Running in reverse is improved although I am not sure why. I am sure someone will come up with a reason. I must get around to retro fitting some tender brake blocks. One of these locomotives built against the clock for an exhibition I'm afraid.
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In this image you can see the compensating beam between front bogey and front driver, the rear driving wheel is fixed. Also the compensating beams used on the front bogey can also be seen. On the real thing the bogeys had outside compensating beams - simple to make and prototypical. Also notice how the frames have been bent in at the front to allow the locomotive to negotiate sharp curves. The keeper plate carries the pick ups in this case and the brakes - plastic - simply can be pushed away from their normal position to allow the wheels to be dropped, the wheel bushes being held in place by small pins, not quite as good as present building methods as it takes more time to disassemble, if anything should move, I by far, prefer what I do now, but reassuring if this is the method you thought of using yourself.
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This shows a close up of the bogey and the pivot for the outside compensation beams. In this case all the axle holes have to be slotted to allow for the compensation. Clearance for the wheels under the frames had to be increased over the original drawing worth doing to be sure of good running.
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Last edited by Allan Goodwillie on Thu May 13, 2010 8:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Allan Goodwillie
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Re: West of Scotland Group's "Starters" Build a loco project

Postby Allan Goodwillie » Wed May 12, 2010 12:09 pm

Chassis Sample 2

This is an example of a B1 kit which had a chassis which was part of the kit (the previous locomotive had a scratch built chassis) This kit I bought way back in the 1970's and was part of the Proscale/Anchoridge range and had a very useful type of chassis. This came already sprung, using slots in the chassis and brass bearings sliding up and down under the influence of springs. This type of chassis has been around for a very long time, but is being promoted very much now although it has taken a surprisingly long time for it to take on. I hope to show soon how a standard Comet chassis can be converted to be able to do the same using Brassmasters horn blocks. :idea:

The time taken to build this kit was surprisingly long as so many other things took precedent, which is a shame, as the kit has made up into a very good locomotive and another locomotive I have fond memories of working from Thornton Junction in the 50's and 60's. This one is fitted with a Portescap motor and gearbox, but has been built as per instructions with the chassis sides being set wider apart. Some of the cross members had to be altered to allow for this , but nothing major. The tender chassis has also been opened out and slotted and compensated in my standard way. It also has a soft spring putting a little pressure on the rear of the locomotive, which works well. :)


A general shot of the B1 61133.
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The tender similar to the last one but showing the spring in place. Most of the lead is in the tender coal compartment and I found that there was a slight echo in the tender when running , so there is a piece of foam inside to act as a noise absorber, something it does very well. Again no brake blocks fitted as I was trying to get this locomotive finished prior to the same exhibition. Easy enough to retro fit and they will be fitted to a keeper plate attached to the two bolts used to secure the tender frame to the body
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This shows the general arrangement this time with the keeper plate , made in this case from copper clad material, holding both conventional wire pick ups with Nickel silver strip ends and the brake rigging. Notice the slight bend in the connecting rod just to clear the front crank pin. Not strictly prototypical I am afraid, but the locomotive when seen from a normal angle looks fine. It really does run well this engine.
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The front bogey has the front wheels fixed and the rear one is allowed to pivot using a wire (you can see the polished mark on the axle) The bogey frame is light and has had some lead added by me as well as having a spring added just forward of the pivot position. This bears on the underside of the locomotive chassis adding stability. I find this to be a better position to add a spring than in the centre above the pivot point, if using a pivot bar as in this case. There is less chance of the bogey bouncing off due to any flaw at rail level. It is difficult to show the sprung horn blocks due to the keeper plate, but I will cover this in the future.
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Here we see the spring with a rounded brass screw added on to the end of the spring to allow the spring a better chance to move against the rubbing plate under the engine. Note the back corners of the cylinders have been ground away to allow more space around the curves.
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Allan Goodwillie
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Re: West of Scotland Group's "Starters" Build a loco project

Postby Allan Goodwillie » Wed May 12, 2010 12:58 pm

Chassis sample 3

Something a little different now. :| A radial tank I built for my friend Richard. Many 0-6-2 tank locomotives were built as a radial design. This meant a controlled axle sliding through the frames. Now it is possible to make a proper radial axle, but for beginners I would not suggest doing that as it is a complication not really required. As long as the axle is allowed to travel through the chassis. I have made a simple pivot from a couple of pieces of rail and brass bushes and a guide plate from scrap brass. The device is made with fixed springs made from fine spring wire, providing a little assistance to stop it bouncing off the track. This engine also has an experimental set of fine ultra light nickel silver wire pick ups and the chassis, although it does not have a keeper plate for the retention of the wheel sets, instead uses plastic horn blocks with retaining strips which screw in place. :geek:

The very light pressure of the wire pick ups makes for a very smooth running engine with little friction, this too has a Portescap motor and is a quiet runner, now on Richard Darby's layout Blackston Junction. I do not recommend such light pick ups as such, but they are basically frictionless. I am not sure if they will stand up to exhibition running long term. Interestingly I have taken a Portescap motor apart to see how it is made and it has two sets of three pick up wires ( in place of the usual brushes ) :o around the poled driving shaft. The wires are very light, made of phosphor bronze.


Here we have a general view of the locomotive in its NBR goods livery. I have a BR version I built many years ago which works on Dubbieside and has been giving good service for about 35 years now. I replaced the original motor and gearbox during the mid 80's for a Portescap. There are a few details to be added to Richard's loco including glazing in the windows and a smoke box dart , but I am leaving him to add a few things of his own.
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Here we see the underside with its sprung horn blocks. No keeper plate this time as such, but the pick ups soldered to independent copper clad blocks on the inner face of the chassis and a small plate of copper clad to fix the front pairs of pick ups in place. Standard practice for many modellers.
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Here we see the pivoted rear radial axle, which also shows the narrower chassis at this point as well as the two spring wires bearing lightly down on the rear axle. Note that the axle is given free reign and has not had spacing washers put in to restrict its travel.
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Allan Goodwillie
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Re: West of Scotland Group's "Starters" Build a loco project

Postby Allan Goodwillie » Thu May 13, 2010 11:10 am

Chassis sample 4

Lets have a look at a variation on the tender chassis. I wondered about the possibility of using tubes instead of normal bearings as used at Pendon. The EM gauge locos built for the layout there, have brass tube to give long life running as the tube affords a larger bearing surface. :idea: At the time I rebuilt the tender on this one I was looking at the possibility of long term running on my Museum layout and again low maintenance. The original tender chassis arrangement was not working particularly well and I wanted to rebuild it with a compensated chassis. The tubes replaced the normal top hat bushes or / alternatively thick frames compensation and slots.

The locomotive was built originally with sprung plunger pick-ups, which are still working after a fashion. :cry: (The only ones still performing.) When first fitted there was a fair bit of friction, typical of this type of pick-up. The tender however, has pick-ups and the rear locomotive wheels have also a set of wire pick-ups as I no longer depend on the plunger ones to work. It is a very strong locomotive this J38, built specially for the working of the Fife coal traffic. Built before I went over to a full keeper plate.

An interesting aside. Many years ago (1972 I think) I was approached at an exhibition by someone wondering if I would like to buy a Wills J39 Kit. I looked into the box and could see a locomotive which had been glued together badly using Evostick and the worst paint job on a locomotive I have ever seen. :!: However I looked at it and took pity on it and thought that I would buy it. All the parts were there and it could be converted to a J38. He only wanted £5 so I bought it thinking this will be a quick locomotive to make. I soon purchased the correct size of wheels and a motor, etc. and went ahead and built a scale chassis working from a drawing. I put the loco in some stripper to take off the paint and this also weakened the glue enough that when placed in a bucket of hot water it all came apart and I was back to the basic kit again.

Ready to assemble the body, I thought I had better just check the dimensions against the drawing. Consternation! :o :cry: The loco body was too short by about 6mm. :shock: On further examination it turned out to be 2mm short at the front end another 2mm short on the boiler/smoke box and 2mm in the cab area, and this with me having already built the chassis. :( (remember I had only started building in S4 in these days) . In the end I made a new boiler wrapper and footplate top, cab sides and roof, as well as, altering the tender to the type that was on the J38.

There is a moral here - Check all kit dimensions before starting any construction to see if there are going to be any pitfalls in producing a scale locomotive, especially with any old kits you may discover at swap meets etc. The older the kit the more likely there have been compromises made to fit eg. the old Hornby Jinty chassis. Pig in poke may come to mind and gift horses etc. So buyer beware.

What I had thought was going to be an easy and quick conversion turned out to be a much longer job altogether - I would have scratch built it in the time and probably have made a better job, looking back on it now. However this engine once rebuilt has worked well over the years, although it has a bit of a whine compared to my other Portescap motored engines. I forgive her that after all the harsh treatment she has had.

At our last construction meeting for the West Group we were examining all these samples I am putting up here. We had all these engines running and, despite the locomotives not having had a run for a while due to personal circumstances - me concentrating on building bits for Burntisland, each loco, when put on the track without any oiling around or cleaning, walked away quite happily first time on the test track.

Allan :)

Here we see the locomotive a class J38, a common type in the Scottish area but not commonly modelled. A fair amount of grime on this loco.
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This image shows the underside of the tender with its tube bearings and extra pick-ups on the tender. They are formed from phosphor bronze strip and have nickel silver ends and are fitted to copper clad strips between the wheels.
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This is a close up showing the tubes with an oil hole in each for lubrication. I used the standard tubing from K&S Note the stud fasteners to allow for quick separation of the wires to the motor and pick-ups on the engine.
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This shows the underside of the locomotive and the plunger pick-ups as well as a replacement wire pick-up for the rear pair of wheels. One advantage of having all the wheels pick up is that the complete engine will run into your storage dead ends allowing for the maximum load behind the tender amongst other things. Tender pick-ups are not strictly needed, also more complication requires more maintenance as a rule.
LS29.JPG (121.35 KiB) Viewed 12551 times

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Allan Goodwillie
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Re: West of Scotland Group's "Starters" Build a loco project

Postby Allan Goodwillie » Thu May 13, 2010 7:54 pm

Chassis sample 5

The last sample I am putting up at the moment is of a WD 2-8-0 a very common locomotive around the whole British industrial system. This is one of a pair which I am building (The second locomotive has not been built yet) and which I am using to try out various things purely for my own interest.

This one has a Mashima motor in the tender with a 2:1 gearbox driving through to a 40:1 gearbox in the locomotive. The alternative locomotive will have a conventional motor and 60:1 gears in the loco itself. Now I will say straight away that for beginners I would not go to all the bother with this arrangement. As this locomotive is experimental I am still learning from the experience. Other locos built for Burntisland nearly all have tender drives, but this is because they are small prototypes and need most of the engine space for lead. They have all been good engines so far. :)

I was trying to maximise the adhesive weight in this loco to see how many wagons it would pull at a slow, but steady rate and compare that with a conventional loco of the same type. What I have found already is that the rubber pad the motor sits on in the tender causes a slight shudder at low speeds, which is a bit irritating although the locomotive is capable of powerful slow running, so this will be replaced. The theory was that it would counter the noise pollution you get in tenders, which it has, but there are other ways of doing this and I will change it after I have run it for a bit. :oops:

The tender was originally fitted experimentally with top wipers for pick-up , but this had a tendency to counter the springing in the Alan Gibson sprung horn blocks, so I have eliminated them already, realising that they were adding to the friction as well and were difficult to clean. I did consider the American system splitting the pick-ups between loco and tender, but my experience of doing this in the past was not particularly good, experiencing greater friction on curves and not enough side play on one side only, I assume due to the pressure caused by the pick-ups. :!:

The other great question mark was around the gear boxes. My worry here is that they are of a type that cannot be replaced readily if they wear out, something I now normally avoid. This may happen as they are very fine compared to most of the gearboxes on the market. This happened to me with the original Studiolith gearboxes which gave superb running, but packed in when the locomotives were really put to work. :cry: So we will see. I don't recommend any of these measures, I have a feeling I may be rebuilding sooner than later. :) Never mind :!:

The main thing to see here is the arrangement for the sprung horn blocks. I have tried using wagon w irons on one or two tenders and keeping two axles fixed - after all diesel bogeys are normally uncompensated. Although I have managed to get them to work in a couple of examples, I would not recommend it except for 4 wheel tenders. I don't see why Brassmasters 6 wheel stock compensation units wouldn't work, but frankly again this is far more than is needed to get a tender running. Tender springs can tire after some time and may need replacing - this is true of most springs and I will probably use the sets I still have on other applications as the compensated tenders run perfectly well. I tend to use the sprung horn blocks on 4 axle tenders only. :)

Allan :)

Well here is the beast in all its glory a DJH kit reworked for S4. Good fun to do and a very nice kit with a few detail differences for the particular locomotive , again a Thornton Engine.
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Here we have the underside of the tender showing the sprung horn blocks and pick-ups with mini plug. I have disengaged some of the tender pick-ups. Note there is one fixed axle. When I have used these horn blocks on an 0-6-0 I have normally have all the axles sprung.
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Here we see the flexible drive coupling and electrical connection between loco and tender as well as the lower part of the 2:1 gear box, of course all these extra bits cost and I am not sure it will be worth it.
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Here we see the underside of the loco and the 40:1 gearbox. Things are very tightly packed together in a 2-8-0 particularly the space left for brake blocks between the wheels, so all are soldered together to make sure nothing moves, but a bit of a pain to disassemble if anything goes wrong. This was all a bit of a pain to paint as well as you will understand when we go on to painting the chassis soon. Note that there is little side play on the leading drivers to allow clearance for the piston rod. the others I have maximised the side play. This engine goes where my 0-6-0 tender locos go. Minimum point 1:6.
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Final image shows again the spring for the front pair of wheels, no bouncing ponies here!
LS26.JPG (141.12 KiB) Viewed 12528 times

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Allan Goodwillie
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Re: West of Scotland Group's "Starters" Build a loco project

Postby Allan Goodwillie » Mon May 17, 2010 4:32 pm

At this stage I thought we may have a look at some of the other locos the other members of the group are working on. I thought I would start with Julian Roberts who has already built some kits in 00 and narrow gauge.

This thread all came about due to various conversations with Julian, who was trying to pick my brains about an 0-4-4T he was starting to build in Scalefour - his first in the gauge. A tricky one to start with, but with some encouragement Julian built a really nice locomotive.

It struck me that given that we had a few members just starting to build locomotives for the first time, it would be useful to use the fourum as a means of disseminating information around the group. It has turned out to be useful , not just to the group members, but from the various emails I have been getting behind the scenes, for other members of the society who have only just begun to build locos.

Julian in describing some of the problems with a Q1 kit he wanted to build said, "The rods dimensions checked against wheelbase dimensions are correct, but the enlarged boss is on the rear joint, while it should be on the front one. Nevertheless, as I had ordered two sets of rods, so that each section could be separate and with half thickness joins at each crank, it was fairly easy to make the enlarged boss cosmetic overlay section fit on the front section and vice versa. And, much later on, the connecting rod visual dimension needed a little titivating just around where it sits on the crank pin to exactly resemble photos as far as I could, and an extra layer of metal to add chunkiness to this distinguishing feature of the loco. (I used both layers of connecting rod on each side for chunkiness).

And that's not all that's not quite right - the third axle hole in the chassis is not in quite the right place. It's about 1/2mm out, I forget which way - when compared with the rods, so the loco'll never go properly unless that is corrected in some way or other.

Whether I work in P4 or 00 I'm the (perhaps rather anal?) type that wants all the wheels to stay in contact with the track, for which suspension of some form is necessary. The frames, while chunky, are not very generous vertically, and there isn't enough metal above the 2nd and 3rd axle holes to make a cut out for horn blocks. One option is to make the holes into vertical slots, and this would probably be quite satisfactory as the thick metal should give slots that might not wear at all badly. For compensation the front or rear holes can be left alone.

I'm not confident about opening the holes into slots accurately, though it would have been a lot easier than what I did: I decided on an alternative - to enlarge to 4mm holes 1 to 3 with a broach to give adequate vertical travel either way, and link the axles inside the frames with pairs of horizontal links, one between each axle on each side, to keep the axles the right distance apart. (The rear hole was left as was and the motor+gearbox goes there). The links were made from strip, the pilot holes drilled from the coupling rods. A 1/8" inside diameter tubing sleeve fitted onto the axle in between to keep the links in their places just against the frames. This unorthodox approach might not work in 00 where there is that much less room between the frames. As it was, in P4 there was only just enough room for the Branchlines 80:1 gearbox with the links in place."

Julian's solution seems to work well and is interesting as a different approach to the compensation element. Below I have attached some photographs Julian has sent me of the locomotive under construction. I would be very interested to hear from anyone else who has used this arrangement. The nearest I have come to something similar is on a standard 2-6-0 I built a long time ago which used a chassis which had similar elements, but instead of Julian's chunky compensating beams, it used wire soldered to the tops of boxes with holes which travelled up and down within a slotted frame. It worked and stayed on the track, but I found the flexible wires kept coming off in time. It stayed on the track OK , but rolled at speed. Not a system I would repeat. However I like Julian's idea which is more robust and along with the tubing should give good service.

Here are some of the construction photographs and I will put a couple of photographs on to the next page as well. Julian has pressed ahead with the body and has reached a finished point, but I will keep the finished article, I think, to a later stage in the thread when most of the engines are completed.

Allan :)

Here is the basic chassis prior to the fitting of the compensation, nice to see Julian taking a second locomotive ,which might have a few problems in its construction ,to have a go at.
These are the compensating beams Julian made for fitting to the loco.
This one shows the alignment being checked between the compensating beams and the frame using one of the pointed type of coupling rod jigs (Note the tube being checked as well).
Close up of the big end of the connecting rod with its added detail.
An interesting photograph showing the arrangement for the front coupling rod fixing, near flush to allow the connecting rod clearance.

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Re: West of Scotland Group's "Starters" Build a loco project

Postby Allan Goodwillie » Mon May 17, 2010 5:00 pm

Here are another couple of photographs. Julian had quite a number of alterations to make to the body to get it right for his particular locomotive - it is always surprising how many detail differences there are even in a small run of locomotives after a few years in traffic. Adding detail and sometimes the "correcting" of kits can add to the sense of achievement when building a locomotive. (Julian told me there were quite a number of bits and pieces around the cab and boiler area that needed altering to get the locomotive right).

Allan :)

Julian's Q1. What a lovely massive beast this is! It is also in a typical working state for a model before final cleaning and finishing before painting - a subject I am turning to next after we have had a look at some other locos which are on the go
Here is Julian's 0-4-4T loco that started all this, again very nice and it also runs well. Julian tells me that the engine was a Carstairs one. It will look good on the West Groups main line railway.
Ju7.JPG (101.2 KiB) Viewed 12484 times
Here is a view looking at the other side of the engine. Julian, like myself, likes to paint his engines and weather them to give that "working" look and has made a very good job of it too.
Ju8.JPG (117.71 KiB) Viewed 12484 times

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Re: West of Scotland Group's "Starters" Build a loco project

Postby Allan Goodwillie » Mon May 17, 2010 5:33 pm

David Porter and his son David are also regulars at the workshop meetings we have been having. David senior has a couple of locomotives he is working on as starting projects a class J72 and a Hornby black five conversion. I hope we will have a look at the black five when we come to chassis conversions later, in the meantime here are some photographs of the J72 as it is developing. The J72 is a nice little locomotive to have a go at as a starter's locomotive. ;)

David also made a version of Allan Ferguson's quartering jig which is most effective.

An interesting version of the beam where it is made in two pieces which are fitted together, but still balance on the centre of the axle. This method can be used to clear other equipment between the wheels and still giving a central pivot position for the axle. Another interesting feature shown in the photographs is the use of pieces of wire sheathing to keep the coupling rods and nuts/washers in place without glueing or soldering. I tend to use super glue gel which unscrews as the nut is unscrewed. :idea:

Something else David has used here is the use of a couple of small blocks soldered on to the chassis end and which fit into the plastic body at one end. The other end is fixed conventionally using a screw. :idea:

The gearbox in this case will be coupled to the motor via a flexible coupling tube. This is another way to be able to drop the wheels and gearbox, leaving the motor in place. :idea:

Here are a couple of photographs of the chassis which is coming on nicely.

Allan :)

This is David's version of Allan's quartering jig.
J3.JPG (139.34 KiB) Viewed 12482 times
This view shows the arrangement of the compensating beams.
J2.JPG (149.11 KiB) Viewed 12482 times
Here we see the gearbox end and the wire sheathing on the coupling rods as well as the small blocks to allow for a clip fit of the chassis. ( A screw is used at the other end.)
J1.JPG (180.24 KiB) Viewed 12482 times

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Re: West of Scotland Group's "Starters" Build a loco project

Postby Allan Goodwillie » Mon May 17, 2010 5:58 pm

Another locomotive kit under way is this N2 kit being built by Phil Draper. The kit is one designed for scale four and has a number of well thought out features with all the horn blocks numbered so that things can be separated and fitted back in place using the numbered horn blocks, in much the same way as I suggested (although using colours to keep things right). Phil is hoping to get this one running this month so there will be some more photographs at a later date. :)

Phil has taken this kit quite far before any photographs have been taken. Very promising at this stage. He is quite impressed by how easy this one has been to build so far - this is a kit intended for the real enthusiast and not meant to be rushed. It has been very accurate and straightforward to assemble.

There are other locomotives being built within the group, which will appear as photographs are taken. Also anyone out there who would like to send a photo or two of your locomotive under way, please consider sending them to me or add them during this week. I will not be adding anything now until next Monday . We are very keen to see some of these locomotives, as I know of any number that are being built, due to people turning up with them at exhibitions and also mentions in emails. :D

Allan :)
Here is Phil's N2 coming on nicely.
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Re: West of Scotland Group's "Starters" Build a loco project

Postby Allan Goodwillie » Sun May 23, 2010 6:14 pm

Hi Everyone, :)

covering one or two responses to the locomotives people have been building.

Starting with Julian who has added some further explanation about his less orthodox method of construction.

Julian - "I'm not absolutely sure I quite explained properly the point of the front axle photo. It was to place the compensating beam at the right point to give the right ride height before I opened up the holes to allow the axles to rock."

Also on Julian's experiment in compensation he has sent me the following -


With a few hours of running in now completed I have to say that I have some problems that stem from the chassis holes not being accurately correlated to the rods.

The approach of making some radial links is resulting in quite a lot of slop, with the result that the wheels are coming into contact with the brakes quite a lot, giving a short. (There was very little room for the brakes between the wheels in the first place!) So an approach to this is to coat the brake blocks with a thin layer of araldite, but I surmise that I may have to remove the brake blocks and replace them with plastic ones. Obviously that would have been a lot easier at the construction phase.

But to go back to before it all began, I've had a flash of enlightenment and now think what I should have done was to have made a kind of inner chassis. Really all that would have been needed would have been 1/2mm thick nickel silver strip about 6mm wide, not much bigger than the strip I used to make the radial links, one each side, the length of the wheelbase plus a bit. Drill the pilot holes from the rods (in their initial state of one rod each side), open the holes to 1/8th inch, then make these holes into vertical slots (except the driven rear axle).

Open out the holes in the chassis as I did to give vertical limits of travel (not the driven axle), then solder on these pieces inside (using a jig axle in the driven hole to accurately place the strip). Possibly solder on extra layers of say 1mm wide strip on the edges of all the slots to give more wearing surface, or start with doubled up layers of strip."

The use of Araldite will probably be enough to stop the electrical problems. This is what I do when using metal brake blocks and has already been covered in the thread.

His comments about the accuracy of making the slots is very apposite. You do want vertical slop but no forward/backward slop, so care in marking out and cutting/filing at this stage is paramount especially when building an 0-8-0 as in this case. Although this has been covered it is well worthwhile reminding everyone about the importance of accuracy.

Thank you Julian for the information - very interesting.

Allan :)
Here is Julian's Q1 in all its glory
Last edited by Allan Goodwillie on Sun May 23, 2010 6:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: West of Scotland Group's "Starters" Build a loco project

Postby Allan Goodwillie » Sun May 23, 2010 6:49 pm

A recent pleasure was to meet a number of people who turned up at the Glasgow Show and showed me various locomotives they were building following the thread. I was there as part of the East of Scotland's team on Burntisland.

One of those who produced various engines was Tony Jones who turned up with a pannier tank and a High level pannier tank chassis which was going together very nicely indeed. Tony has still to paint the chassis and has said that he has a slight problem with a coupling rod pin, but he hopes to have the locomotive finished and working soon, but like most of us has had a number of other things in life to play with, typical of the summer months. 8-) Not cool - just like the glasses.

Tony still has to fit the motor / gears and brakes at this stage, the chassis has a number of good and interesting features, although like most other High Level chassis not quick to build, but you do get a quality chassis once you are finished.

It is very encouraging from my point of view to see these models coming on and realising that others are getting pleasure in doing this. Here are the photographs Tony has sent me.

Thank you Tony, I am looking forward to seeing the locomotive running sometime and seeing photos of the finished loco.

Allan :)
High Level Pannier 1.JPG
The chassis almost completed, I will ask Tony what he thinks of the design of the chassis once everything is completed.
High Level Pannier 1.JPG (29.02 KiB) Viewed 12427 times
High Level pannier 2.JPG
The locomotive with body fitted
High Level pannier 2.JPG (24.28 KiB) Viewed 12427 times

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Re: West of Scotland Group's "Starters" Build a loco project

Postby Allan Goodwillie » Mon May 24, 2010 8:09 pm

The filling of the sand boxes

Hope that is enough to whet the appetite for the moment, now on to some aspects of finishing the chassis.

Filling the sand boxes is not really necessary - a simple plate cut and bent to fit each base of the sand box is fine, but a chance to add lead low down on the chassis to help adhesion is welcome.

Normally I would fill the boxes before doing the final clean up and finishing, but this time I forgot and had already cleaned the chassis up before I remembered to fill the boxes. :cry: I am trying to give a sense of what order things are best done so the next thing would be the filling of the boxes, prior to cleaning for painting.

The idea is to make an amalgam of lead and filler and to seal this in each of the sand boxes. This could be done in a number of ways. You can cut strips of lead and glue them in place with a final finish using car body filler - one method I have used before. This I can recommend another method which I have used here is to use liquid lead and filler - again car body filler is a good material. In this case I am using squadron filler which also dries quickly, but it is not so hard when finished, so I am giving it a final coating of 5 minute epoxy when it has dried. this gives a tough coating when dry and stops any reaction to moisture which the lead may have. I still feel that the better mix is with car body filler.

In either case make sure you are working in a well ventilated area :!:

Allan :)
This is the filler - make sure you have good ventilation. I do the job quickly near an open window and leave the job to dry and the fumes to disperse before I re-enter the room. Before I start I place a piece of masking tape over the tops of the boxes. ( See the 3rd image)
FB01.JPG (157.34 KiB) Viewed 12391 times
Place some filler in a small dish.
FB02.JPG (159 KiB) Viewed 12391 times
Having placed a piece of masking tape over the top of the sand boxes,front and back, place a little plain filler in as far as it will go up to the masking tape.
FB03.JPG (159.75 KiB) Viewed 12391 times
Now make a mix of lead and filler, more lead than filler.
FB04.JPG (200.13 KiB) Viewed 12391 times
Make sure the mix is thorough before using
FP05.JPG (173.25 KiB) Viewed 12391 times
Now fill the remainder of the box. The filler will be drying quickly, especially if you have used a two part filler. Squadron filler allows a little more time, but is not so tough.
FP06.JPG (165.36 KiB) Viewed 12391 times

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Re: West of Scotland Group's "Starters" Build a loco project

Postby Allan Goodwillie » Mon May 24, 2010 8:23 pm

Filling the sand Boxes part 2

continuing on.......

Allan :)

Finish off the boxes with a little pure filler so that there is no liquid lead showing. I leave the filler slightly proud at this stage and give it time to dry properly.
FP07.JPG (168.21 KiB) Viewed 12391 times
Here we see the filler being filed to shape.
FP08.JPG (199.9 KiB) Viewed 12391 times
The final stage is to take away the tape when the filler is dry and to put a top coat of epoxy to seal everything - not necessary if you have used car body filler.
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Re: West of Scotland Group's "Starters" Build a loco project

Postby Allan Goodwillie » Fri May 28, 2010 2:38 pm

Preparation for Painting :)


Always nice to get to this stage, being a painter at heart. First thing to do is to disassemble the chassis fully, separating everything for painting up. This is one of the times you begin to realise just how useful it is that you have made a chassis which allows for easy dis/assembly. Any extra time it took to make it this way will easily be made up at this stage. It will make this stage so much easier and you are likely to make a far better job of it, with very little cleaning up.The cleaning up can be messy, but , of course is necessary, to get the locomotive to work well again. How often I have read in magazine article after magazine article about the problems of getting the loco to work again after paint getting to the working parts and the difficulty of cleaning a fully assembled chassis.

Don't think that the preparation stage is one to be skimped on. A little extra time taken at this stage will pay dividends at the cleaning up stage. The first thing, once all the parts have been separated out and laid out on the bench in order, is to give them a thorough clean. There are different methods available to clean the metal, which can be considered here. All methods should start with a good scrub in warm water using a tooth brush and some scouring powder - Vim or similar to eliminate any residue of flux that may still be there. Do not use liquid polish material like Silvo or Brasso as both polishes contain some element that behaves like wax to maintain the shine, but can act as a barrier to the paint sticking properly. :twisted: :(

Method 1) Use a glass fibre brush and thoroughly rub down all the metal surfaces. I would use rubber gloves and work with an old towel on my knee or an apron, just to keep the fibres from getting somewhere you do not want them to go :!: :cry: The main problem with this method is that you have to be sure you have eliminated all the small fibres from the painting surfaces prior to painting. I use a large floppy soft brush. (Glass fibres are very difficult to deal with if painting an assembled chassis.) Since you are using gloves this means that you will not leave any fingerprints. This method is cheap and simple and providing you take care will give you a good clean result. Do a final check for fibres by using your magnifier. For a starter I would recommend this method.

Method 2) Use some form of acid dip to clean the metal. Hugo Carr supplies a useful acid dip, I would suggest getting a reasonable quantity for doing a chassis and use a small deep dish to put dip and chassis in. Make sure that the entire chassis is placed below the surface and leave there until the chassis looks sparkling clean. Take out and dry using paper towels and try not to touch the surface with your fingers - you don't want any fingerprints as they will effect the paint. I do not put my wheels in the dip, but simply give them a burnish with a brass fibre brush. This method also works well and makes the cleaning of the chassis frame simpler, for not too high a cost as you will be able to do quite a number of chassis with the dip. Again nothing tricky in this approach for the beginner and easy to recommend.

Method 3) The abrasive spray. This is the one which I thought I would use this time for myself, as, a number of friends have recommended using it. There are fashions in everything and that includes modelling techniques. I have tried up to now to keep away from fashionable theories and have stuck to straightforward techniques that I know work. I have seen locomotives prepared this way and the finish has ended up good in all cases so, I hope you don't mind this little diversion. I happen to have an airbrush and compressor, which I have used for many years now. ( In fact, I have a couple of old airbrushes which would also be suitable for use as grit blasters.) I was given a new grit blaster as a present and being keen to try it out I thought I would have a go on the present two chassis to see what the results are.

I do not have an enclosed spray booth and realised that the dust would be a problem, but I managed to do the job OK working with the airbrush and the work piece in a large resealable food bag. I still used a mask for extra protection and sealed the bag around my wrist

The chassis can be held by one hand from the outside of the bag while the spraying of the grit can be controlled from within the bag. I had been warned about the problems of using a spray booth with a plastic front, or glass, as you have to avoid the surface of the glass taking an electrostatic charge and fogging up due to the dust, so I assumed that the plastic bag may also have the same problem. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I could see pretty well most of the time I was spraying the grit. This being the case I think it unlikely that I will go to the bother of building a special spray booth.

I wore the gloves I would normally use for the glass fibre work just to avoid the surface getting finger prints on it.( I still managed to put one on it later while handling the chassis for a photograph, but have polished it off just the same using the brass brush.

The initial cost of this method is quite high, even if you are using air cans rather than a compressor, and being a bit of a luxury I have not bothered with this approach up to now when preparing my other locos. I was interested to see whether what I had been told about it giving a better surface for painting was true. Being an abrasive, it roughens the surface and gives it a "tooth" and should allow the paint to adhere better.

Paint coming off at a later date is a problem most modellers encounter at some time, particularly if you are using brass, (less so with N/S.) ;)

In the end it took about the same time as the other methods to set up and so far, I am pleased with the results - we shall see at painting time what the painted finish is like compared to my normal finish.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION I am having trouble uploading further information on this thread due possibly to limits with the server so I am starting a new thread. You will find this under "West of Scotland Group's "Starters" Build a loco project Part 2" You can continue on by clicking on to the link below.


Allan :)

Disassemble all the parts and drop out the wheels and gearbox. Separate the motor.
PP06.JPG (34.71 KiB) Viewed 12307 times
Motor released by separating the wire harness
PP03.JPG (21.79 KiB) Viewed 12307 times
The wire harness
PP01.JPG (26.28 KiB) Viewed 12307 times
This can be the time to glue in the pick-ups (having marked the position) if you found that there is not much space between chassis and gearbox as I am doing here. Other wiring up can also be done at this time, if necessary. I would also give a covering of Epoxy glue to the surfaces of the pick-ups that may come in contact with chassis or gearbox - a good time to do this.
PP04.JPG (28.8 KiB) Viewed 12307 times

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Re: West of Scotland Group's "Starters" Build a loco project

Postby Allan Goodwillie » Mon Sep 01, 2014 10:18 am

As well as Part 2 of this project which you can find at http://www.scalefour.org/fourum/viewtopic.php?f=39&t=886

Visitors to this project may wish to move on to the final part where I scratchbuild the bodies for the locomotives. It is some time since I built the chassis for the Barclay locomotives and they were put on the back shelf while I worked on bits of Burntisland and reworked other parts of my Grayrigg and Dubbieside layouts. However I have been working towards building my new layout Scotts Road which the Barclay locomotives were intended for and due to some prodding from my friend Bob Heatherington I have started work on the bodies last weekend so this will be done as a progress report as the engines evolve over the next few weeks. Sorry those of you who may have been following the first two parts of this :cry: but I did say at the beginning that the thread was for beginners considering building their first chassis - however by now they may want to have a go at a complete scratchbuild so here goes - it will not be prescriptive but be in the usual style of having a go and enjoying the process. There will some mistakes made along the way and corrected I am sure , but that is the norm when scratchbuilding something and I want to reflect that as it will give a true impression of what it is like :cry: :) and share that with those who would like the challenge and who are only starting out on the experience and pleasures of making something completely by hand. I hope just as many join in as did in the past with useful ideas for the beginner. :)

You will find the new thread at http://www.scalefour.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=39&t=3837


Re: West of Scotland Group's "Starters" Build a loco project

Postby jayell » Mon Sep 08, 2014 4:52 pm

allanferguson wrote:A most interesting thread, Allan, and excellent that an experienced builder can put across the basic "how to" stuff from which we can all take something, however experienced.

I was glad to see Russ had picked up on the issue of the quartering jig while I was still trying to create an illustration to demonstrate the point he has made, that the "Bill Bedford type" jig does not give true 90deg quartering. Many years ago, when I first essayed to build a locomotive I built my own jig which, though a tad more difficult to use, does give true 90deg quartering. I think it's also easier to make!

Allan Ferguson

I had forgetten this thread until I picked it up again a couple of days ago but it reminded me that I needed to finish off my quartering jig, originally based on the V-type Alan G suggested but modified to work more like the one Allan F described above.

I had approx a square foot of 16 guage copper sheet left over from years ago so used that instead of brass. Am now wondering if I should have made the gap between two of the outer plates a bit wider to allow for one wheel to be not fully pressed on to the axle.

quarterjig-01.jpeg (74.14 KiB) Viewed 8475 times

quarterjig-02.jpeg (72.58 KiB) Viewed 8475 times

I fully agree this is an interesting thread and worth putting together as a downloadable pdf file or booklet at some time


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Re: West of Scotland Group's "Starters" Build a loco project

Postby allanferguson » Mon Sep 08, 2014 6:58 pm

Your jig is grand and should work well. BUT it will give left hand lead (i.e. the left crank goes round 90 degrees ahead of the right crank). The great majority of locomotives were built with right hand lead. I'll grant that to properly appreciate this you need to be standing on both sides of the loco at the same time....... It's the sort of thing that might niggle once you knew about it. I have to admit that I bought a GW Models Wheel Press and Quartering Jig, thereby going against my own dictum of never buying expensive tools and jigs. But it is very easy and quick to use, and I was tempted.......

Allan F


Re: West of Scotland Group's "Starters" Build a loco project

Postby jayell » Mon Sep 08, 2014 9:09 pm

allanferguson wrote:Your jig is grand and should work well. BUT it will give left hand lead (i.e. the left crank goes round 90 degrees ahead of the right crank). The great majority of locomotives were built with right hand lead.
Allan F

OK, I can easily dismantle it and put the 'upstand' on the other side and add a couple more spacing washers at the same time



I decided against the 'posh' tool on grounds of cost, dunno why 'cos i just spent £10 on a couple of centre punches, £37 on a nice drill vice, £60 on 3 sets of GWR coach underframes plus other odds and ends like wet & dry paper that one cannot do without.

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Re: West of Scotland Group's "Starters" Build a loco project

Postby jasp » Tue Sep 09, 2014 9:56 am

Allan's threads on loco building for the beginner are to be much commended.
I realise that this is one man's approach but is, nevertheless, a fantastic resource for both the beginner and the experienced modeller.
It is, however, not particularly easy to follow due to the forum format.
I wonder if it would be possible to reformat the threads on the forum, omitting the headers and footers, or perhaps, publish the whole, when complete.
Jim P

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Re: West of Scotland Group's "Starters" Build a loco project

Postby Allan Goodwillie » Tue Sep 09, 2014 4:04 pm

Chaps, I am glad :D to see the quartering jig John made - a very neat job John! Allan Fergusson's suggestion is right of course, by swapping the sides over it allows quartering of either type. I would suggest using longer bolts and checking the gauge of some washers, it would be possible to insert them to allow for the wheels to go in prior to being closed to the correct gauge. On the quartering jig I use you can do that, In fact it can be set for gauge O and I have used it for locos of that scale.

As to the possibility of publication this has been suggested by many of the members to me, but perhaps not to the committee. I do publish childrens books and get them printed and perhaps could do this with the thread, but there is more in thisthread than you tend to get in books on the subject - one of the reasons for using the fourum.

I am finishing the test build tomorrow of the locomotives - See Part 3,just needs one or two small details added and I will be able to upload everything over the next few weeks.

I have been asked about applying my techniques to a Comet Chassis to see what adaptions are needed. So I will maybe follow this up with the construction of a Jubilee or an 8F , both of which I am due to work on as new locos for our Grayrigg Layout.

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Re: West of Scotland Group's "Starters" Build a loco project

Postby grovenor-2685 » Tue Sep 09, 2014 5:42 pm

I am rather puzzled by John's jig as I don't see anything to hold the axle in place while setting it, Alan's original has 3 plates with 90 degree corners, the inner two used to hold the axle in a defined position. As i see it the two inner plates must have the 90 degree corners, although they would not need to be full height, just enough to hold the axle in place while the outer one has to allow for the maximum crank throw.
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